Union minister for power Piyush Goyal was addressing the Mail Today Energy Conclave where he spoke about PM Modi’s goal to ensure reliable power supply and about India’s focus on clean energy.Newly elected Uttar Pradesh chief minister Yogi Adityanath is working on a war footing to get every household electrified in the country’s most populous state, union minister for power Piyush Goyal said on Wednesday. His statement at Mail Today’s 3rd Energy Conclave came a day after the CM ordered 18-hour power supply in villages, 20-hour at tehsil level and Bundelkhand and 24-hour for all headquarters apart from deciding to ink a pact with the Centre to ensure electricity in all UP villages by 2019.
“Chief minister Yogi Adityanath has had 11 conversations with me so far on power alone, with the 11th one this morning. He’s so focused on how we can get electricity to every household in every village,” said Goyal, stressing that it is in line with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s goal to light up 4.61 crore more households. The minister said it is necessary to give cheaper power to the poor and farmers and affordable supply to everyone else while also turning the power distribution companies profitable. “Power cost per se is not high. Average power cost is Rs 3/unit. AT&C (Aggregate Technical and Commercial) losses and power theft are actually the cause for higher rates. We cannot pass on the inhibition to consumers. A little bit of cross-subsidy will help solve the conundrum,” he said. Modi won the 2014 Lok Sabha elections promising to provide reliable power by 2019 and put a stop to persistent blackouts that have plagued the country for decades and hampered growth.
SINGLE GRID FOR ENTIRE INDIA
A single grid across the country for seamless transmission of electricity from one part to another is also being worked on, Goyal said. The government’s target to provide 24×7 power for all is 2022, but Goyal said it could be achieved before that. “India is committed to working on climate change. This is despite the fact that we contribute only 3% to global emissions even though we support 17% of the world’s population,” he said, with a veiled reference to US President Donald Trump’s dismissal of global warming as a hoax. Irrespective of what other big nations are doing, we will work on it as our own people cannot survive pollution beyond a point, he said. “We have just raised BS standards for vehicles. We are working on ultra critical and ultra-super critical power plants.”
FOCUS ON RENEWABLE ENERGY
Goyal emphasised that renewable energy sources will take centre stage in the days to come. If energy was represented as a triangle, one side would be safety and security, the second affordability and the third sustainability, he said. “The focus to expand the use of natural gas and renewable energy in the respective ministries dovetail into a larger agenda to ensure a better environment for the next generation.” The target on solar power production alone has been expanded five-fold to the one set five years ago, he said. “Our national solar mission seeks to produce 5,000 MW solar power by 2022-the 75th year of India’s Independence. Today, we are planning to produce 100,000 MW by 2022. As of 2014, 2,500 MW was produced. So, we are looking at a 40-fold increase in 7 years.”Last year, the government has added a record 5,400 MW production capacity of wind energy and 5,600 MW solar power,” he said.
Going ahead, energy production will have to tap into technological innovations to meet the growing population. By 2020, the global population is expected to be 9 billion. He explained that Japanese scientists are exploring wireless transmission of electricity. “If that can be achieved, solar power can be transmitted wirelessly from space, where there is 24×7 sunlight.” The challenge for the nation is that politics should not overtake governance, he said. “But people are now voting in governments that show that good economics is also good politics.” He said after a decade of “bad politics and economics”, there is a resurgence in investments. “We are seeing record Foreign Direct Investments flowing in.”